Glaucoma is a groups of eye diseases that can damage the eye nerve. Damage to the nerve can lead to poor eyesight and blindness. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common type.
Early treatment can improve outcomes.
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Fluid is made inside the eye. Glaucoma is caused by fluid that drains too slowly. This can increase pressure in the eye and damage the eye nerve.
Open-angle glaucoma is more common in older adults. It is also more common in people of African and Hispanic descent.
Other things that may raise the risk are:
- High eye pressure
- Certain eye problems, such as a thin cornea
- A family history of glaucoma
- Type 2 diabetes
- Migraine headaches
Open angle glaucoma may not have symptoms in the early stages. When symptoms happen, they may be:
- Problems driving at night
- Problems seeing things that are close up
- Reading more slowly than usual
The eye doctor will ask about symptoms and health history.
An eye exam will be done. Tests will include:
- Tonometry—to measure eye pressure
- Visual field test—to see if there is vision loss
- Imaging of the eye nerve and other parts of the eye—to check for damage
- Pachymetry—to check the thickness of the cornea (clear dome over the eye)
- Gonioscopy—to see if fluid channels in the eye are open or closed
The goal of treatment is to lower eye pressure. The doctor will watch for changes over time. Options are:
- Eye drops—to reduce the fluid the eye makes or increase the flow of fluid
- Laser treatment—to increase the flow of fluid
- Minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS)—to drain fluid using stents, bypasses, or implants
- Other surgery to drain excess fluid from the eye
Eyesight problems can be stressful. Care may include counseling and support groups.
The Glaucoma Foundation http://www.glaucomafoundation.org
Glaucoma Research Foundation http://www.glaucoma.org
The Canadian Ophthalmological Society http://www.cos-sco.ca
Glaucoma Research Society of Canada http://www.glaucomaresearch.ca
Eye health information for adults 40 to 60. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/midlife-adults A. Accessed July 29, 2019.
Eye health information for adults over 60. American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/tips-prevention/seniors. Accessed August 9, 2021.
Primary open-angle glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/primary-open-angle-glaucoma . Accessed August 9, 2021.
What is glaucoma? American Academy of Ophthalmology website. Available at: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-glaucoma . Accessed August 9, 2021.
What is glaucoma? Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: https://www.glaucoma.org/glaucoma/. Accessed August 9, 2021.
8/9/2017 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T919533/Surgical-procedures-for-primary-open-angle-glaucoma : Manasses DT, Au L. The new era of glaucoma micro-stent surgery. Ophthalmol Ther. 2016;5(2):135-146.
8/9/2021 DynaMed Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114157/Primary-open-angle-glaucoma : Wang S, Liu Y, et al. Hypothyroidism as a risk factor for open angle glaucoma: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2017 Oct 25;12(10):e0186634.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
- Review Date: 07/2021
- Update Date: 08/09/2021